To Hook Set, Or Not To Hook Set, That Is The Question

Knowing when and how to set the hook is a key to landing or losing a bass. The lures you use will determine whether you set the hook immediately or wait a couple of seconds after getting a bite. Lures also dictate whether you employ the overhead jerk hook set to cross the eyes of a bass or firmly sweep your rod to impale the hook.

Here is when and how to set the hook on some of the most popular bass lures.

Topwater

Always remember to briefly pause before setting the hook on a hollow body frog bite. Giving the fish time to fully commit to your bait and yourself time to and prepare for a stout hookset will help.

Whenever a bass inhales my topwater I wait until I feel the weight of the fish on my line before setting the hook. My rod is usually pointed towards the water when working a topwater so I set the hook by steadily sweeping my rod backwards.

Cranks and Spinnerbaits

Bites on these lures feel like either a hard jerk on the line or your lure just stops vibrating. In either situation, I just keep reeling with the rod pointed downward until I feel the fish move and then I use a sweeping hook set.

Swimbaits

When To Set The Hook - Swimbaits
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Bass tend to nip at swimbaits so I wait until I feel the fish load up on my line before setting the hook. Then I jerk my rod with a quick snap of my wrists to bury the hook.

Jigs

When To Set The Hook - Jigs
Setting the hook on a jig is one of the most fun ways to catch a bass. Lean back and give it all you’ve got to drive the stout hook into the roof of the fishes mouth.

This is the one lure I set the hook immediately after detecting a strike because when you feel a tap that usually signals a bass has inhaled the lure and is in the process of spitting it out. I am using heavy line for jig fishing so the overhead jerk hook set works best.

Soft Plastics

When To Set The Hook - Soft Plastics
Setting the hook on soft plastics:
Baitcaster:
Similar to a jig hookset. HARD.
Spinning Rod: Scaled-down hookset when compared to casting rods

Timing a hook set for these lures can be tricky because sometimes bass will suck in the lure and spit it out immediately and other times the fish will inhale it and swim off with the bait for a while. Try setting the hook immediately when you feel a tap and if you keep missing fish, then wait a couple of seconds before employing the overhead jerk hook set.

Finesse Plastics

When To Set The Hook - Finesse Plastics
Gently leaning into fish when using soft plastics is an effective technique. The light wire hooks used in finesse baits don’t require as heavy as a hookset.

Bass have a tendency to swallow these smaller baits so you should set the hook immediately when you detect a strike. Light line is required for these lures so I employ a gentle sweep hook set to prevent from breaking my line.

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